Provincial Police Region 9 has ruled out the possibility that two bomb attacks in Songkhla, more than 460 kilometres from Phuket, were politically motivated and said that investigators were looking at other possible motives, including a conflict among groups of local tourism operators.
No tourists were injured in the bombings as the devices were detonated hours after tourist had left the area, though the iconic Mermaid statue suffered damage by having the tail blown off. (See story here.)
Regardless, officers across the island have been ordered to increase their vigilance for any potentially similar incidents in Phuket, Maj Gen Teeraphol Thipjaroen, Deputy Commander of Region 8 Police, told The Phuket News today (Dec 28).
Before his posting to Region 8 Police earlier this year, Gen Teeraphol had for years served as Phuket’s top-ranking police officer as Phuket Provincial Police Commander.
Region 8 Police, although headquartered in Mai Khao at the northern tip of Phuket, also covers the Southern Thailand provinces of Chumphon, Nakorn Sri Thammarat, Ranong, Krabi, Surat Thani, and Phang Nga.
“We held an urgent video conference of all the provincial police commanders in Region 8 immediately after the bombings,” Gen Teeraphol said today.
“We repeated to all the provincial police commanders for their officers to be especially vigilant and to immediately report anything suspicious or unusual, and to stay in constant communication with other officers in the region,” he explained.
“Officers are to be especially vigilant in specifically checking for war weapons at check points, and when checking CCTV footage of public areas,” Gen Teeraphol said.
“We also invite reports from the public, who we urge to also be especially vigilant in their own communities. If you see anything (odd or suspicious), please inform the police quickly,” he added.
Phuket Provincial Police Commander Maj Gen Wisan Panmanee was not available to answer questions from The Phuket News at the time of calling
All three Deputy Commanders of the Phuket Provincial Police declined to comment, saying that only Gen Wisan had authority to comment on the issue.